The Martyrdom Church was built for those who suffered and died during Japan’s Christianity ban. Of the 200 imprisoned, 42 died. After this incident was reported to the government, the freedom of religion act was established in 1873. To this day, the Christianity ban remains a sore subject for the village. Discrimination continued well into the Meiji era even after the act was passed, and was not unheard of even up until the 1970s. These now exposed Christians were forced into lower class jobs and could not work their way up because of their beliefs. Recently the churches on the Goto islands have become more of a tourist attraction, thanks to the UNESCO honors. The Martyrdom Church reminds visitors the rough conditions the hidden Christians were forced to endure and the resilience of the people who survived.
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR